DmC: Devil May Cry has just recently rebooted itself under its new developer: Ninja Theory. Fans, rejoice!
That’s what one would expect, anyway. However, fans of the series are largely disgusted with the reboot. As of the time of writing this article, DmC has a respectable 86 metacritic rating from critics, and a whopping 4.3 from users.
DmC fans have a surprisingly concise list of reasons why they hate the reboot, particularly:
- Bad writing
- “Easy” gameplay
There are several other reasons tossed around that also I don’t necessarily agree with, and I will address some of them. Though I’d first like to touch on the consensus’s opinions.
Certainly, Devil May Cry’s writing will win no awards. None of the games from the series warrants extreme praise, as they have never been about the writing. They’ve always been about two things: gameplay and style. The writing is and has always been over the top and cheesy, which is really a factor that you will either love or hate. And as with any writing that plays on the dangerous border between cheesy and cringe-worthy, sometimes it will err on the latter side of the spectrum. DmC is no exception to this. The most-cited source of this is a conversation between Dante and the second boss of the game, which consists of F-Bombs being thrown around like it’s high school all over again. I cringed, but rationalized it. This new, alternate Dante is far younger than his original counterpart, and far less-experienced in his trade of killing demons. So for this iteration of DmC, I can forgive it to a point.
The gameplay of Devil May Cry has always been its center point. It’s stylish, flashy, and has a surprising amount of depth for an action game. This is all measured by DmC’s signature “style” system which is based on how well you fight and vary up your combos and weapon usage, but can be reduced significantly upon taking damage from any source. Ranking from D to S for Devil May Cry 1 and 2, then up to SSS for all following games, the styles have different names for each letter in each game: Dull, Dope!, Dirty!, Cool!, Crazy!, Brutal!, Anarchic!, Smokin’!.. You get the picture.
Fans’ main complaint here is that it’s far easier to get to the highest rank — SSS. Which, objectively, it is. One combo from the first weapon you gain can easily shoot you up to A rank or higher. The hardcore fans scoff at people who insinuate that it was still easy enough to achieve in previous titles, citing something to the tune of “Yeah, until _____ dashes at you from off screen and breaks your rating into tiny pieces!” That’s great and all, but that’s just bad game design! It boggles my mind why events like that are celebrated; it’s artificial difficulty. DmC: Devil May Cry rarely, if ever has that issue of getting wailed on by enemies you can’t see. The camera is done well, and isn’t frustrating in the slightest.
The gameplay is frenzied, fast, and most importantly: incredibly fun. Combat is smooth and feels great, swapping between weapon sets is intuitive and each weapon has its own purpose. The skill cap opens up exponentially every time you acquire a new weapon, as it opens up not only combos within each weapon’s moveset, but it opens up new combos that can work with every other weapon you pick up along the way. There is no lock on, but I rarely found that to be a problem; simply point the control stick toward the enemy you want to attack and that’s it. I really can’t get enough of the combat in this game, and that falls in line with its predecessors.
DmC’s overall gameplay is also more varied than any of its predecessors, and has moved to include platforming elements after you acquire a few key items that facilitate the movement through the fantastically-utilized concept that is Limbo. Limbo is the demons’ alternate reality of the world, where CCTV cameras become demon eyes, demons’ commands and thoughts appear in giant text on walls and floors, ground can and will fall out from under you into a giant void, and much, much more. Visually, the two worlds are differentiated by color and saturation, or the intensity of the colors. I have a background in art and typically strong opinions on any visual media, so I would be the first one to bash on DmC’s use of colors if I felt it necessary. It took me a few minutes to get used to how much Ninja Theory really wanted to push the colors when I first played the demo, mostly due to how they initially push the blues and oranges in that particular level. We’ve all seen that a million times (for good reason, but that’s for another time). Soon after that though, you get the sense that Ninja Theory realized that they could literally do whatever they wanted, and embraced it.
Within the alternate reality they created, they pushed their level design and environments to extremes with stellar results. Unfortunately, they seemed to reign it back in on the final level which ended up a bit of a disappointment. As much as it fell flat in the end, everything on the way there was great enough to ignore that folly.
There are plenty of other complaints that range in validity. Complaining that Dante’s cockiness is juvenile, which it always has been to some degree and is facilitated by his age, is silly. DmC’s frames per second being limited to 30 on consoles is a touchy subject as well. For me, 60 FPS is much more of a disconnect. Games at 60 FPS generally begin to enter into an uncanny valley of realism, and it just doesn’t quite work right when character models and environments aren’t rendered realistically. The only type of games that I prefer higher FPS are things like First-Person Shooters that require the utmost accuracy, and even then it’s only for the sake of finer controls; the game itself still appears “off” to me. For me, DmC at 30 FPS is just fine, and never caused an issue.
My only complaints with DmC: Devil May Cry are few. It’s a bit on the short side, being that it can be completed in 7-10 hours. Though it’s worth noting that I don’t feel as though I didn’t get my money’s worth, I just wanted more! And finally, as I stated earlier, the last level is incredibly lackluster compared to the rest of the game, so it left a bit of a bitter taste at the end. Of course, I just proceeded to go back in from the beginning at a harder difficulty! The rest of the game is so well done that it’s easy to forget how the end disappoints.
I definitely got my money’s worth here. Pick it up, try it out. If you’ve never played the Devil May Cry series, this is a great entry point due to the reboot. Fans new and old should appreciate this game for what it is. I know I do.